Happy Father’s Day!
Please bear with me here as I indulge you in my real life once again. A LOT is going on. And, I so badly want to tell you what it is.
Are you ready?
Yesterday I put in an offer to buy a house here in Northampton.
WHAT??? But, Laurel, you said that you were going to rent a house or an apartment in Northampton, not buy a house. What if you don’t like Northampton? What if you HATE the winter?
haha. I can tell you right now, that I’m going to HATE the winter. But, I hate it in New York too.
I’ve been here for over five weeks. I love it here! Besides, I’m addicted to the Hungry Ghost. Plus, my son is going to be somewhere in the area. He’s promised me that. I know that he wants to have some family close to him as well.
Here’s what happened. Last week (Monday), I found a sweet 650 sq. foot apartment on Elm Street.
I showed you the building. Cale and I talked with the manager who lives in the building at length. She was very lovely and planning on showing me the apartment within the next couple of days.
However, that night, her father in Florida passed away. Of course, I felt awful for her, but I also took it as a sign. All of a sudden, that little apartment felt like the walls were going to close in on me. Plus, there’s no dishwasher. lol, I must have a dishwasher.
The next day was a blog day, but squeezed in some time to look at apartments for rent.
Fine. You win. We all know that I stayed up waaaay too late ruminating over apartments for rent.
But, I now know in intimate detail, every apartment there is to rent in this town. I mean, I must’ve looked at each one at least 10 times, conveniently forgetting that it had already been crossed off the list for some compelling reason.
It is exactly like having a baby. You forget how awful it was the first time and, so, you blithely go through the entire exercise again. Right?
But, in the end, I came up dry. Most apartments tend to be small; or, they are set up for room-mate situations if more than one bedroom. Plus, they’re pretty expensive for what you get.
So, then, I started looking at houses for sale. I wasn’t really thinking that I should buy a house. I was “just” looking.
Oh, stop laughing. I fully realize how delusional that is, as well. That’s because there is NO just. And there is definitely no “just looking,” either.
Frankly, the inventory here is pretty pathetic. But, I found a two-family 19th-century beauty for sale, in a lovely neighborhood. High ceilings, BIG windows. Oh man and, get this—a double parlor in the living room, with, not one but TWO fireplaces!
Rosedale Farm, anyone?
In addition, thank God, nobody has done any hideous remuddling.
But, WHAT happened to make you change your mind, Laurel?
You mean, why do I want to buy a house instead of renting an apartment?
That’s a very reasonable question. Well, aside from wanting to get out of New York, and be closer to my son, there’s one very compelling reason.
And, it hit me like a big icicle crashing down on my head:
I could Airbnb the entire top floor apartment.
I’m spending a small fortune on the one I’m staying in. It’s nice, but nothing special. Of course, I realize that an Airbnb is work. But, I can get help with that.
Oh, Laurel– please show us the house. PLEEEEEASE! Is it a Greek Revival? Your dream home?
Well, I don’t know if I’m going to get it or not.
And, I’m fully aware that you can get on freaking Zillow and find it. haha
Of course, I can’t stop you from doing that. But, if you do, please don’t share the link or gloat. lol I mean, it’s not difficult. There are only so many homes for sale.
However, pleeeease, what I really want is for you guys to send some positive vibes.
The other thing is that it’s going on 3:00PM. But, here’s the good news. I know that the owners are anxious to sell the house. In fact, most of their stuff is gone. They are relocating to another state. Plus, they adore the house and are going to miss it.
But, they just finished an open house, so I am waiting on pins and needles to hear back.
And, maybe I will very soon. And, then everything I just wrote won’t matter.
Okay, I wrote them a little note, and they are mulling everything over and getting back to me tomorrow.
Sounds promising. Coincidentally, my Airbnb host has a good friend who used to live in the second floor rental unit. And, she thought my offer was very good. Small world, eh?
The house is not a Greek Revival. While there are some earlier homes in the area, I haven’t seen much in the way of Greek Revival houses. However, it looks more Greek Revival on the inside than the Sheffield home. The majority of homes are late 19th century and are Victorian which encompasses numerous sub-styles.
Interestingly, I was told that this one was built in the mid-19th century. It is definitely Victorian, but not the gingerbread-y kind. Still, she’s definitely a lady.
So, the architectural style is a Queen Anne farm-style home with a hint of the Italianate style.
One of its exterior features are these beautiful corbels. The thing is, we are the ones who’ve put these specific architectural labels on the homes of the period. I think the builders of the time took whatever elements they wished to have. I love that.
But, let’s return to the Airbnb idea.
The upstairs is wonderful. I wish I could have both floors. In fact, the previous owner had plans drawn up to turn it back into a one-family house. But, I do not need that much space. Plus, whenever the Airbnb is empty, I can certainly go up there and hang out, if I like. But, here’s what’s up there.
- a spacious 1400+ square foot apartment
- private entrance
- Large, beautiful kitchen with a charming original pantry, (see above) and yes, a dishwasher.
- large dining area
- living room with a fireplace! (non-working, but it’s gorgeous)
- two bedrooms. One of them has three huge windows.
- Window air conditioners
- screened-in porch with a view of the neighbor’s gorgeous yard and house.
- There’s also a tiny room with a closet that can work as a third bedroom.
Based on other Airbnb’s in the area, I believe I could get on average 250-350 a night.
If it was booked, only 75% of the time that right there is $5,000 – $7,000 a month. Of course, I would have expenses like housekeeping help. Plus, I would have to pay for utilities, and awww, I’d be forced to furnish the place.
However, here’s the point.
I think it’s possible that my Airbnb earnings would cover my mortgage, insurance, taxes, and housekeeping.
In other words: Rent-free for me.
And, maybe even a little extra!
So, I hope you can see why it makes so much more sense to buy a house rather than rent and be locked into that for a year.
I know that I keep saying that I need help. Well, if Cale can’t help me (and, I’m not expecting him to do much), I’ll just have to hire some help!
Naturally, there are other perks. There are numerous projects to take care of and blog about.
Okay. I know you want to see some more. And, fortunately, I’m not superstitious that way. I either get the house, or I don’t. If I don’t, it was not meant to be, and there will be another one.
But, still, I am going to show you only enough to satisfy some of your curiosity.
front porch detail
Look how similar the columns are in this Italianate style home built around the same time.
While we saw an Italianate style home in this post, the snowy Massachusetts winters do better with a more steeply pitched roof. The Italianate Victorian sub-style generally has a flat or almost flat roof.
The upstairs apartment entrance and attached garage.
Do you know how rare an attached garage is? Very.
And, it’s a corner lot in a quiet area. No traffic.
But, it’s only a 10-minute leisurely walk to downtown and Smith College.
Just one interior photo from the first floor of the exquisite bay window. Yes, I took a lot of photos. Soooo happy to see the original details and so beautifully maintained.
Okay, that’s all for now. Ugh, except I broke a tooth. Fortunately, it doesn’t hurt. But, that might not be a good sign, either. Damned Covid. I’m sure you guys can relate. Of course, many of us, including me, were scheduled to visit our dentists, this past spring. But, I’m struggling to find someone to take care of this.
I know full well that some of you are going to have some cautionary warnings. I did speak with a real estate lawyer who helped me word my offer.
It’s a fabulous home. It’s not a fixer; however, as I said, there are some projects.
Tomorrow might be a very big day!
I’ll keep you posted!
Two hours ago, after a little negotiating, the owners accepted my offer!
Thank you all so much for your wonderful wishes and support! Obviously, it worked! Honestly, I was crying reading your beautiful comments!
Here are some more photos of the exterior of the house, but I’ll be sharing more soon.
Yes, they have a baby. Isn’t that adorable? In fact, the wife was single when SHE bought the house. And, then she met her darling husband.
I think this bodes well for me, too.
More coming soon!